Reelz Channel opts not to renew suburban reality show ‘The Capones’

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“The Capones” was not a hit for Reelz Channel, which has taken a pass on ordering a second season of the west suburban-set reality show about descendants of Chicago’s infamous gangster.

“‘The Capones’ was kind of middle-of-the-road for us performance wise,” Reelz CEO Stan Hubbard said Saturday after the network unveiled its upcoming programming plans at the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills, Calif. “’The Capones’ did very well in Chicago, not surprisingly. It didn’t do so well on the coasts. There’s a lot of people on the coasts.”

Billed as a “workplace docuseries,” the 10-episode series launched in January. (One of the cast members, Madeline Santarelli of Elmwood Park, died shortly after the debut.)

The show revolved around Dominic Capone, who says his great-great grandfather was Scarface’s uncle. Much of the series took place in a suburban McMansion Dom purportedly lived in with his longtime girlfriend, Staci. Cameras also rolled in the family’s eponymous Lombard restaurant.

As I noted in my zero-star review, “The Capones” felt like it raised the bar on bogusness — even for “reality” TV. Click here to watch a Sun-Times video about some of the truth-stretching in the series.

“I think it probably didn’t feel as authentic as you’d like a show to feel,” Hubbard said when asked why the show didn’t resonate with viewers. “And you had a cast of characters – a bunch of wonderful people – but [they’re] unknown.”

Reelz’s next attempt at chronicling a family in a reality show is “Living With the Jacksons,” a six-episode series set for Nov. 18. It features several of the late Michael Jackson’s nephews and niece who grew up inside the Jackson family estate and are now living outside it — but still under one roof — for the first time.

“Living With the Jacksons” also stars Alejandra Jackson, single mother to her five children who are all in the show: her two sons, Jaafar and Jermajesty from her marriage to Jermaine Jackson, Genevieve and Randy Jr., Alejandra’s daughter and son from her relationship with Jermaine’s brother Randy Jackson, and Donte, who Alejandra has raised since he was 2 years old.All of them were on stage at the Beverly Hilton during the Reelz panel — the same spot the Capone clan was this time last year at summer press tour.

“‘The Jacksons’ is a little more dramatic — less yelling and screaming, less volatility,” Hubbard said in comparing it to “The Capones.” “They’re a remarkably nice, wonderful family.”

While “The Capones” hasn’t been renewed, Hubbard said he hasn’t ruled out bringing cast members back in some form in the future.

“I talked to Dom last week,” he said. “I know they’re working on trying to rethink some things. We’ve told them we’re open to hearing it.”

“Everything we do won’t work,” Hubbard added. “But if it’s not really good, let’s find something that can be.”

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